Why was Kiron created?
Vincent Zimmer and Markus Kreßler came up with the idea for Kiron during a refugee conference in the summer of 2014, where they discussed their visions of a “university 2.0.” This idea aims to use technological progress to concentrate more on each individual student. At the time, Zimmer and Kreßler both worked as volunteers with refugees: Markus with a psycho-social consultancy for refugees, and Vincent with “Study without borders,” which supports students in crisis situations. Both were enthusiastic about the possibilities that this new approach to university education offered refugees, who previously did not have direct access to education. This led them to begin talking to online course providers, universities and decision-makers in politics and the economy. Markus and Vincent discovered that there were solutions to every single barrier refugees faced – except when they tried to access a university education. As a result, in March 2015, they founded the social startup “Kiron Open Higher Education,” which aims to give refugees around the world access to a university education and additional related options. In this way, Kiron supports refugees in facing the challenges of fleeing from their home countries and starting over elsewhere.
Where does the name Kiron come from?
Kiron’s founders, Markus and Vincent, wanted to find a striking and meaningful name for their venture. Kiron’s two main pillars are higher education and its accessibility to underprivileged groups, both of which originated in Greece, the birthplace of democracy and higher education. Their research led Markus and Vincent to Chiron, a figure from Greek mythology – specifically, the eldest and wisest of all the centaurs, famed for his superior knowledge and teaching abilities. Since knowledge and teaching are essential to Kiron, Markus and Vincent soon settled on the name Kiron, derived from Chiron, but easy for people of all origins to pronounce.